The auto industry is a perfect example of how fast technology and customer needs evolve. For anyone used to driving a car built two decades ago, sitting in the latest Tesla Model S Plaid will make them feel like they were in a spaceship. Virtually every aspect of modern cars has been reimagined and reinvented to meet modern needs.
This constant transformation has resulted in the demise of various car features as some got modernized while others were entirely discarded for reasons such as safety, convenience, and regulatory requirements. In this article, we’ll explore five features we’ll miss dearly versus five we’re happy to see go.
10 Car Feature We’ll Miss: Manual Transmission
Over the last two decades, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in the number of new car models equipped with a manual transmission. There’s no denying that automatic transmissions are much easier to learn and use than stick shifts, but most gearheads agree that they’ve taken most of the fun out of the driving experience.
Automatic transmissions have taken over, and if the trend continues, there’ll be no new manual cars left. Other gear systems that are becoming increasingly popular include Dual-Clutch Transmission, Continuously Variable Transmission, and others.
9 Car Feature We Can’t Stand: Too Many Buttons And Dials
If you step into any pre-2010 car, you’ll be bombarded by a myriad of buttons and dials on the dashboard, many of which you probably have no idea of their function. Thankfully, manufacturers have realized how big of an eyesore too many buttons can be and are replacing them with touchscreens.
However, some manufacturers are taking it a bit too far and replacing all the buttons with touchscreens. We’re looking at you, Tesla. While this contributes to a sleek, minimalist interior, we think it can be confusing for some drivers, which is why we recommend leaving functions like temperature controls as physical buttons or dials.
8 Car Feature We’ll Miss: Mechanical Handbrake
In 2001, BMW equipped the 7-Series with an electronic parking brake, setting the stage for the demise of the beloved mechanical handbrake. According to BMW, an electronic parking brake makes driving easier and safer since it’s easy to use, requires minimal maintenance, and can be easily switched on and off while the engine is still running.
However, the electronic parking brake is not as fun to use as a manual handbrake, especially for gearheads who love drifting. We can’t do handbrake turns in new cars anymore.
7 Car Feature We Can’t Stand: Manual Windows
Not so long ago, hand-crank windows were the norm. People had to operate a lever in circular motions to lower or raise their windows. Although the mechanism improved over time, it was a laborious process that couldn’t beat the ease of operating windows with a touch of a button.
By now, most new cars have done away with this feature, and we can’t help but smile about it. The only new cars with manual windows are budget-friendly cars like the Nissan Versa S.
6 Car Feature We’ll Miss: Full-Size Spare Tires
A few years ago, every new vehicle came with a full-size spare tire in the trunk, fixed to the tailgate, under the car, or in the truck bed. That’s not the case anymore.
These days, most new cars come with bicycle-sized spare tires or tire puncture repair kits that most drivers can’t understand. The reason why automakers ditched full-size spare tires is that it reduces production costs and improves cargo capacity numbers.
5 Car Feature We Can’t Stand: Cigarette Lighter Ports
Back in the day, smoking cigarettes was widely considered to be fashionable. Men, women and even children smoked cigarettes everywhere — in the streets, inside buildings, TV commercials, films, and other places. As a result, all cars had cigarette lighter ports on the dashboard. Some even had ashtrays.
However, the public perception of smoking changed when scientists discovered the dangerous effects of smoking. Nowadays, smoking cigarettes is strongly advocated against by governments and the medical community, which is why most manufacturers have done away with cigarette lighter ports.
4 Car Feature We’ll Miss: Pop-Up Headlights
It’s truly unfortunate that automakers don’t install pop-up headlights in their cars anymore. Pop-up headlights were the epitome of style in the ’70s to ’90s era cars and are part of the reason why cars like the Mazda RX-7 FD are still popular to date.
Sadly, manufacturers had to do away with pop-up headlights as a result of European safety regulations introduced at the turn of the century. Some experts also argued that pop-up headlights reduced aerodynamic efficiency.
3 Car Feature We Can’t Stand: Fake Engine Noise
The type of sound a vehicle makes when the driver steps on the gas has always been a vital factor in how exciting it is to gearheads. There’s something about the loud roar of a V8-powered Mustang or the scream of a Lamborghini V12 that sends chills down every gearhead’s spine.
However, as a result of advances in combustion engine technology and the rise of hybrids and EVs, modern cars are a lot quieter. To compensate, some manufacturers are using fake engine noises to ‘enhance’ the driving experience. Sadly, the noises obviously sound fake to most gearheads, particularly electric cars.
2 Car Feature We’ll Miss: V12 Engines
The V12 engine is currently on its deathbed, which is sad for gearheads who adore its might and beautiful sound. Growing pressure from eco-warriors and environmental agencies has forced manufacturers to move away from V12 engines and are instead using forced induction and electric motors to make smaller engines more powerful.
In fact, Lamborghini recently announced that the new Countach will be their last V12-powered car. This is depressing, but we hope that the environmental gains will be worth it.
1 Car Feature We Can’t Stand: Wood-Grain Side Paneling
In the late 20th century, many cars had wood-grain side panels, mainly because it was fashionable and reminiscent of the pre-metal cars. The Buick Roadmaster Estate immediately comes to mind.
However, gearheads realized the disadvantages of using wood in the side panels – it was not as strong and safe as metal, and it was costlier to maintain than metal. As such, the use of wood in auto bodies gradually diminished, and now it’s only used in luxury interiors.
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